Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tōmoana Showgrounds grandstand demolition to begin

Work to deconstruct the Tōmoana Showgrounds grandstand will begin next week, following a blessing of the site (pictured) which took place today.

Hastings District Council says it bought the showgrounds in April last year, with overwhelming community support for the purchase.

“Council ownership meant it would be officially designated a reserve which would protect it as a community green space,” the Council said in a statement.

The Council says it was made clear during the public consultation that site works and the deconstruction of the grandstand, which was built in the 1960s, may be required.

A building assessment conducted in October last year confirmed significant deterioration to the condition of the grandstand’s roof and support structure, making the building unsafe.

An analysis of the benefits and risks of repairing the building, in consultation with existing tenants, confirmed the decision to remove the building, Council says.

After a competitive tender process, Central Demolition was selected to undertake the
deconstruction with the intent of recycling as much material as possible to avoid it being sent to the landfill.

Representing the Tomoana whānau and Waipatu mana whenua, Ngahiwi Tomoana conducted today’s blessing, marking another chapter in the history of the area.

Ngahiwi Tomoana.

“The Tōmoana and Whakatū freezing works both disappeared to be replaced by a whole new string of industries and now another icon, the grandstand, is disappearing but we are trusting there will be innovation in that space to take us forward,” he said.

“It will create more opportunities for people knowing the value it’s brought to our lives over the past few decades – most recently when it was used as a hub after the floods and during Covid, but also as a confluence of the rural, urban and Māori communities of Hawke’s Bay.”

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said the showgrounds were very important to the community and the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society, as shown by the fact that more than 1,200 responses were received when the proposal for the council’s purchase of the site went out for feedback as part of the Annual Plan process in 2022.

“The grandstand is a historic symbol for our community – it’s been loved by many people since it was built in the 1960s, and we acknowledge those early community leaders and Hawke’s Bay A&P Society committee members who worked so hard to provide this asset for the wider community,” she said.

“This area is also hugely significant to the Tomoana whānau and wider Waipatu community and it’s important that this historic connection to this area continues to be fostered as we consider the future of what happens here.

“Through the formation of the trust that will oversee any future development I’m sure the area’s future is in good hands and will be preserved and enhanced for the enjoyment of future generations.”

HB A&P Society general manager, Elisha Milmine said the blessing marked a monumental
occasion for the community and the society.

“Every inch of this iconic building tells a story, from old memories to new beginnings,” she said.

“We understand Hastings District Council’s decision to deconstruct the grandstand was made with the safety of the community and all showgrounds’ users at the forefront.

“The society will continue honouring the past and embracing the future.”

The work is expected to take four months to complete and anticipated to begin on May 13.

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